Curb appeal is one of the most important factors in selling a home, and one of the most difficult to quantify, but one thing is certain -- homes sell for more money when they have it.
It's common knowledge that drive-up first impressions count. Buyers want to be charmed and excited about a property as a whole. A clean, tidy front yard, front walk swept of leaves and snow, pavers laid safely and evenly, and an attractive frame of landscaping set the tone for a positive buyer experience.
On closer inspection, buyers can see that the trim has been freshly painted and that you've put out a cheery new welcome mat by the front door. So how much more work do you need to do to win buyers over?
Since 2003, replacement costs have generated more value at resale than remodeling, according to the latest Remodeling Magazine 2014 Cost vs. Value report. That's good news for sellers who want to ramp up their home's curb appeal.
In fact, the five projects with the best cost to value ratios were all directly related to curb appeal: Midrange roofing replacement rose 5.9% over last year, while midrange garage door replacement was up 5.6%. The 20-gauge steel replacement entry door was up 5.4% and vinyl siding replacement rose 3.2%. In the upscale category, the fiberglass replacement entry door was up 1.7%.
Exterior projects such as these are crucial to any home's integrity, says the National Association of REALTORS®(NAR.) "These projects also do not require expensive materials and they have the added bonus of instantly adding curb appeal," says the trade organization.
The quality of materials may also make a difference in resale. For example, a wood deck addition returns 80.5 percent of costs, while a composite deck addition returns only 68.0 percent. A steel entry door returns 101.8 percent of its cost, while a fiberglass replacement door returns only 72 percent of its cost.
While it may seem counterintuitive to pay $100 and only get $72 back at resale, updating is the best way to help a property maintain its appeal to future homebuyers.
"Resale value is just one factor among many that homeowners need to take into account when making a decision to remodel," advises the NAR. "The desirability and resale value of particular remodeling projects also varies by region and metropolitan area."
If you're planning to update your home for resale, ask your real estate professional for guidance. He or she can tell you which improvement projects will provide the most upon resale in your market.